India Emerges as Australia’s Fastest Growing Market for Tourist Arrivals

Introduction of electronic lodgment of visa applications for Indian passport holders likely to further boost arrivals.

Sustained growth in arrivals and spend reveals Australia as a destination of choice for Indian travellers. Arrivals from India to Australia grew by 15 per cent for the year ended October 2017, with an influx of 294,000 visitors, compared to the same period last year. This makes India the 9th largest inbound market for Australia, and inches it closer towards achieving its Tourism 2020 goal of 300,000 visitors annually, three years ahead of target. Indian visitor spend in Australia for the year ended September 2017 reached A$1.45 billion (approx. Rs 7,200Crore), an increase of 26 per cent over the previous year, making India the 8th largest market in terms of spend by tourists. With an impressive double-digit growth in arrivals and spend for the fourth consecutive year, India has emerged as Australia’s fastest growing inbound market.

In mid-2017 the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection extended online lodgment of visitor visa applications to all Indian nationals. The online application process provides a more convenient option for Indians looking to visit Australia. In an age where travellers are increasingly self-reliant in planning and booking holidays, thee-lodgment allows tourists greater independence when planning a trip to Australia and is likely to be a strong catalyst for boosting tourist arrivals from India.

Feedback related to online lodgment has been positive. Commenting on her experience, Mumbai resident Sangeeta Sood said, “We found the e-lodgment process to be a faster, cheaper and more efficient way of applying for visas. Despite applying during a heavy travel period, given the year-end holiday rush, and we received our visas in plenty of time to finalise our travel plans. We are excitedly looking forward to our dreamholiday and celebrate the New Year’s Eve in Australia”.

Tania Gerlach, Chief Migration Officer, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) commented, “We are extremely pleased with the success of the e-lodgment process, with over 60 per cent of the total tourist visa applications now received online. The month of November 2017 has witnessed the highest-ever tourist visa lodgments. Online lodgment offers benefits such as 24/7 accessibility, electronic payment of the visa application charge and the ability to check the status of applications lodged online. Processing times for these visas will now be faster, as both applications and supporting documentation are immediately available to the processing office. This is good news for every Indian visitor planning to visit Australia, whether they are travelling for business or pleasure”.

Commenting on the success, Nishant Kashikar, Country Manager, India and Gulf, Tourism Australia, said, "It is an extremely proud moment for us to achieve the fastest growing market status in our 50th anniversary year of marketing Australia to the world as a visitor destination. Our focus on content integration initiatives, partnerships with airlines and Aussie specialist agents, and increased digital focus have been the cornerstone for these impressive results. We’d like to thank our trade and aviation partners who have been a part of this incredible journey.”

To encourage travellers from India, Tourism Australia will continue to focus on promoting nature andwildlife, alongsideaquatic and coastal experiences, under its global campaign – There’s Nothing like Australia. Targeting the high value traveller, Tourism Australia will also focus on promoting new products and destinations, through a variety of digital marketing initiatives, and leverage the power of advocacy through its Friends of Australia program. These initiatives are aimed at building awareness and aspiration, to further increase Australia’s appeal among potential Indian travellers.

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